Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Gorgeous Sunsets (Yawn)

Photo Friday Nov 26 - Yellow

Yellow Hibiscus. Shot in the late afternoon in Placencia, Belize with a Canon Digital Rebel EOS.

This could meet the yellow challenge also. The photo was shot on November 24, 2005 and was the sunset view of the wedding reception. By the time I hauled ass down to the split (the channel between the north and south part of the island) the boat had sailed off into the sunset. Oops! You can barely make it out on the far right at the horizon line. I'm hoping the couple will like the "creative use of whitespace" technique. What else could I do except try and make the best of the situation.

Illustration Friday - Nov 26 - Small

The original 24" x 24" art is hand-painted silk using te serti technique. I've made it into tiles and boxes that are available at http://www.cafepress.com/caribbeancolors/636708

What inspired me: This little froggy was hugging up my screen door one morning in October. He was eating the insects that had gotten stuck to the screen after the outdoor light was on all night

Sunday, November 27, 2005

False Advertisement for Getting Married

On Thanksgiving, I photographed a wedding for a Canadian couple (judging from their accents) People who get married here on Caye Caulker aren't looking for a traditional wedding, so it follows suit that their photos won't be traditional either, which is a good thing, since my photos are left of center.

I never look at the groom, it doesn't matter what he looks like, its the bride that's the most important thing in wedding photos. He could have a big ole green ting dangling out of his nose and I wouldn't catch it until I'm editing after the event. Thank goodness for photoshop.

Lots of factors affect shooting these weddings. The first is the low light at sunset and my reluctance to use a flash. Flash adds bounce and looks so fake, makes shiny faces. The breeze, which direction its coming from, and at what time. Usually the breeze comes from the east, they couple is facing west and so the bride's hair is blowing over her face, the flowers are flying away, dresses are flipping up. I've photographed more than one bride's lacy panties (oops!)

The moment is here and gone, never to come back again. The kiss, the kiss, the kiss, don't miss the kiss, is my mantra. Don't invade, is my rule. Leading up to the event I'm probably more nervous than the bride. I have to take 2-3 hours before the shoot, lay down, rest and meditate, or I feel like a wreck inside. I need to be aware, alert to capturing these moments, and not mentally fatigued. I don't operate very well on empty. I'm looking for that one moment, that one special feeling, the one photo you would pay $300 for.

Is it worth it? Yes. When I give them their photos, they ooh and aaaawww over them (and then they pay me) I relax.

I've come to realize I'm not a photographer, I'm a painter with a camera.

What I did on my birthday

45 is a big one, in my opinion. Half way through the decade, where you're still rising, haven't quite arrived yet - still have a little bit of energy, but are smart enough to not make the same mistake 3 times.
A good friend came over from San Pedro (the next island) for the night, plus bigness's oldest daughter and kids were here for the weekend, we all went out for dinner. My friend brought a cake and a bottle of wine, Bigness had already ordered a cake, which was a fete in itself, because he had to use the phone, and had to dial it himself.
A week before my birthday I decided that I wasn't going to ignore it this year. I told Bigness my birthday was coming up in a week and what I expected. I wanted a chocolate cake, sex the way I liked it, and a nice dinner out. He complied and didn't grumble too much.

Me: I want you to call Mr. Whyo's sister and order a cake for me.
Him: I'll get it when I go to the city
Me: You're going to bring a fancy cake on the water taxi? What if the seas are rough?
Him: You want a fancy cake?
Me: YEEEESSSSSSSSSSS. Just get it from Mr. Whyo's sister, she makes the wedding cakes I've eaten at receptions here - I like her cake. (Whyo isnt his real name, his real last name is Reyes)
Then I added with emphasis: Its MY birthday
Him: What's her name?
Me: I don't know, I don't know anyone's real name, she's Whyo's sister.
I see the wheels turning and the gears grinding, the far away look, then he snaps out of it.
Him: Oooooohhhhhh, Loite, she was my sweetheart in college, she was in luv with me, but I was bad back then, lawless.
Me: You're still lawless and every female over 55 - in Belize - was your sweetheart in college, tell her to not poison me.
A side note: Belize's speaker of the House of Representatives (Mrs. Zabaneh) was his girlfried in college, along with the lady from Tobacco Key who makes the dolls I sell in the gallery. Bigness was a basketball star. At night we're laying in bed watching the local news and they will play a clip from the House of Representatives session, he'll give a big sigh and say... "That gial luved me you know."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

High Season has officially started

Middle daughter isn't here yet, we're still trying to make arrangements. The hurricane that wiped out Cancun/Playa Del Carmen threw a monkey wrench into the mix. Its a question of time vs. money now.

This season promises to be a great one, with many other Caribbean and Mexican destinations ripped to shreds, if we can keep from killing off the tourists. Belize has had a rash of tourist deaths in the last few weeks. The body count is at 5 now (plus a pilot), which is more than we have in a whole year.

A honeymooning couple's private charter plane crashes into the mountainside on their way up to Francis Ford Coppola's resort Blancenaux.

A cruise ship tourist floats out to sea, right here off the reef of Caye Caulker, on a snorkel tour from Belize City. I watched the search and rescue ship right from my verandah. 20/20 hindsite Bigness said "I don't know why those Belize City bwais dive there, its right tricky, next to a cut in the reef, you notice no local Caye Caulker divemasters out there, its because the current is too strong. To add to the stupidity, the seas were too rough because a hurricane was churning off the coast. That day on the water taxi coming from Belize City I thought I was going to lose a kidney because the boat was slamming around so much, I couldn't imagine getting into the water.

Divers disappear off Placencia during hurricane Wilma. Complete stupidity there, go on a dive on a boat with no cell phone, no life preservers, no working radio, then abandon the boat and try and swim for shore. 3 made it 1 died. The tour guides have lost their licenses for LIFE. The same 2 guys had an incident in January, and their licenses had been suspended.

American girl killed in Mayan Indian Village, was traveling with a group, left them and went on her own to a little village where she befriended locals at a bar and was found strangled the next day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Zee Zzzwizzz Beckpeckers Hev Arrive

Zey kyam fram Ondurazzz end r so heppy to find a kleeen playz to itttt.
Ja vole.
Vat tiiime do you epen in ze morgen?
Veeee vill be heeeer.
Vee heeere about zee koffeeee.
Vee loooffff Koffeeeeee.
Strongggg Koffeeee.
(I'm sure they make fun of my accent too)
Zaye loook at me and vonder isss she spenish or is she amerikanish?
Note to self: time to get the NO SMOKING in six different languages sign out again.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I fell asleep and when I woke up...

... there was a giant tropical storm right in front of me. Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore.
Anyone else watching the weather channel out there?
Where the heck did this big ugly thing come from? ... and why?

As of 9 p.m. central time (Friday night) the storm has organized and moved northwest. The stopped running the boats at 5 p.m. today, so whoever is left here isn't going anywhere. No diving trips, no snorkeling, no laying on the beach.

All that's left to do is to sit in my shop, drink coffee, eat blueberry cake and buy art.

Tonight I dug my floater jacket out of the bottom of the closet (closet is a very loose term for the spot between two rooms that I chuck my clothes), from inside the double hefty bags I use as mildew resistant storage, because the rains have started. We're supposed to get 10 inches in the next 24 hours.

Saturday Morning Update:

The storm turned and is heading more north than west, the seas are more calm than yesterday, the wind has died down and they started running the water taxis again at 8:30 a.m. Its directly west of us now and moving slowly north.

Another near miss, let's hope its the last of the season.

May people have asked me this question. Can you get insurance? The answer is yes, but only for contents of the store. After Hurricane Keith in 2000, buildings on the beach are no longer insured by the local companies. Bigness and I have discussed this at lengh. What would we do if we get hit and this building falls down? Build again, but in concrete? I say, retire again!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

And they said it couldn't be done

Bigness: Babes, how many of this do I put in the jello (holding up a 14 ounce coffee mug)
Me: how many packages of jello?
Bigness: 2
Me: big or small packs
Bigness: big
Me: well that's 14 ounces, so each mug is 1-3/4 cups and each package takes 4-8oz. cups of water ( I whip out my brain calculator) so you should put 4-1/2 mugs of water to make 2 packs.
Bigness: Oh...
Me: What
Bigness: I put 8
Me: do wehave any more jello in the cupboard?
Bigness: no, but its o.k., it'll work
Me: no it wont
Bigness: you watch
Me: ... ( I silently say to myself, NO IT WONT)
Skip to the next day... it worked, it wasn't jello water, but was light and fluffy jello, not hard set but it didn't slip off the spoon either.
We ate it all. Being grown up means that we are allowed to eat things like jello and chocolate cake for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You know you're living on a small island when...

The owner of Dreadlock Pasta tells you that you're not allowed to serve any kind of pasta since there's the word pasta in the name of her business.
--Bigness chased her down the street with the machette for that one. Any of you initiated into Belize know which crazy house I'm taking about. I changed the name to protect the guilty.

I'm in the hardware store yesterday and the drunk policeman (there's one in every small town) told me that he heard Bigness bawling like a cow the night before. I guess that meant he heard us gettin busy - I didn't realize the acoustics in our apartment were so good. I've stopped getting embarrassed about this stuff anymore. I answered him back with... "Oh, that musta been when I was whipping him with a stick" Big guffaws from everyone in the store. I didn't even turn pink. I didn't have time to chat because I was racing around trying to get all my chores done, pick up cargo from the airstrip, send packages on the water taxi, on my bike, and my pants were giving me plumbers butt.

Meet Jennifer


Jennifer came into my store last night and is traveling for 5-1/2 months. Costa Rica to Belize to the Cook Island to India to Vietnam to Paris to London, and I'm sure I've missed a place or five. Check out her blog as she posts her travelogue, don't forget to tell her I sent you. She's had some great adventures so far, and told me a story or two last night over veggie lasagna.

Girls Gone WIld

I am really really trying to get a picture of the police woman in combat boots, really I am, if they would stop looking at me. The Seargent is very suspicious of me with that camera hanging off my face most of the time.
"Saaaage, may I please take a picture of Girls Gone Wild on the desk" hoping to shift the camera a bit and take in the edge of big momma's combat boots.
"What you do with that komra ever day? Ever day ever day I see you wid dat komra pinting it da we"
"I report the weather on the internet" I said to him trying to fathom what's going on behind those reflector sunglasses, I see the faint curl of a smile. I'm a bad liar, a nervous liar, my mouth goes dry, my heart is about to pop out of my chest. I could never pass a polygraph test, even if I was innocent.
"How you know bout Girls Gone Wild?" he asks gruffly
"I noticed Girls Gone Wild carved into the police desk when I was making out the report against Freaky White Granny's crackhead boyfriend when he threatened to burn the place down ecause of the eviction - but you were on leave"
"Oh, ok den"
He watches me, I snap snap snap. Combat boot momma crosses and uncrosses her big thick hairy legs.
"Why you want dat picture for the weather report?"
"Oooooohhhhhhhh" I say, stalling for brain time, "That one's for a story I'm writing about white girls who come here and hook up with the wrong kinda people and get themselves in trouble." My face is burning.
"Girls Gone Wild been on dat desk from ever since..." he said as I scuttled away.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Near, Far and Cant Stop Playing This Game

Weather Report:
its 85 and sunny

I've had the weird headache again - all week, which is very unusual for me. I never get headaches, well hardly ever. Its behind my eyes and at the base of my skull on the left side.

And I can't stop playing this game
My high score was 2470.

So amuse yourselves for a while, its like opening a bag of potato chips - or in my case, a bag of Hershey's kisses, I can't stop until they are all gone.

About the headache, it might have been a mild case of the flu (we are getting germs from all over the world coming in here now), or stress (who me?) or it might be my eyes, I think my eyes are changing again and my glasses prescription is too strong. I'm nearsited and they say that as a woman approaches men-o-pause a nearsited woman can become farsited. Well whatever it is, its annoying and I can't think straight.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Illustration Friday - Nov 4 - Night

This peice is titled "Midnight" and was on exhibition at the House of Culture in Belize City July-August 2005, then moved to the George Price Center for Peace in Belmopan, Belize. The GPC is where all the big government meetings take place in Belize. The inspiration was from vintage erotic photography from the 1920s. The peice is oil pastel, prismacolor pencil and oil paint.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fashion Police Ruling

Spanish man wear man-prix pants nice,
White man just look silly.
Photos later.

Speaking of Fashion Police. Our female officer here on Caye Caulker has taken to wearing combat boots with her skirt uniform. The first time I saw that I was... huh? Is that what I think it is, and not the fashionable black ankle socks and black oxfords that we've come to know and love?
I think I'll bribe her with a brownie and ask her the classic question... Did your momma wear...?
But she might accidently shoot me.
I WISH I had photos of this.
See what happens to me when I'm just minding my own business?